Well, that’s the Easter holidays nearly over. We’ll start having fewer visitors after the weekend (as of Thursday 16th lunchtime, 3500 since the Easter holidays started) but other visitors are starting to arrive. We got our first decent views of an osprey fishing this week and there were at least a couple over the lochs on Thursday morning.
Ospreys are amazing to watch fishing. First, there’s the leisurely swoop over the water. Then the hover – have I spotted something? Yes! A fish! Then the feet-first plunge into the loch, the plume of spray, and the frantic pounding of the wings to get airborne- either with or without a fish.
They’re not the only migrants to make it back this week. We’ve had the first willow warblers singing (15th) and the first tree pipits back too (16th). It amazes me, every single year I see them, how these tiny birds make these huge journeys at all, let alone every year.
Not so tiny, and incredibly noisy, are the resident greylag geese. They are clearly of the opinion that only mugs migrate and are happily resident year- round.
Although spring is springing all over the place, we’re still getting some frosty nights, and the grass was white this morning.
I wonder if the colder nights and occasional days have affected the adders this year, as their shedding and breeding time seems rather more spread out than last year. There don’t seem to be so many adders breeding this year – but they only reproduce once every 2-3 years, so there may not be so many sexually active adults this spring. This rather smart brown male has just shed his skin and looks like warm brown velvet in the sun.
Whereas this female is not long out of hibernation! You can see the sandy-coloured earth between her scales. Many thanks to photographer Alan Sinclair for use of this fantastic picture.
The warmer days have encouraged some of the trees to burst into leaf. This is the first week we’ve seen new leaves coming on the birch and rowans.
This ash tree is also starting to put forth purple female catkins. Ash trees have a slightly unusual sex life- they can have all male flowers or all female flowers or some of each… or swap between these arrangements from year to year!
The sun has also brought lots of wild flowers into bloom. The woods beside New Kinord have plenty of celandines but by far the most obvious flowers are the white drifts of wood anemones.
If you look closely, you will also spot the violets coming into bloom among the anemones.
And, around the old ruins, the daffodils continue to defy time better than the building behind them.
I imagine that land managers as well as parents will be breathing a sigh of relief that the holidays are drawing to a close. Parts of the country have been experiencing a high fire risk due to the nice weather…and lots of people in the countryside pushes this risk higher still. Most, in fact nearly all, people are sensible and will obey signs asking them not to light fires but, as they say, there’s always one. And we’ve heard all the excuses over the years, I think my favourite being “but we didn’t think it meant here” approximately 10 feet from a “No Fires” sign!